National Laboratory Pathfinder - Vaccine - Survey (NLP-Vaccine-Survey) - 07.29.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
National Laboratory Pathfinder - Vaccine - Survey (NLP-Vaccine-Survey) investigation uses microgravity to examine several pathogenic (disease causing) microorganisms to assist in the development of potential vaccines for the prevention of infections on Earth and in microgravity.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending



This content was provided by Timothy G. Hammond, M.B.B.S., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Timothy G. Hammond, M.B.B.S., Durham Veterans' Affairs Medical Center, Durham, NC, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
    Information Pending
    Developer(s)
    University of Colorado at Boulder, BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory (NL)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2009 - October 2009

    Expeditions Assigned
    19/20

    Previous ISS Missions
    The NLP-Vaccine series of investigations began on STS-123/1JA during ISS Expedition 16.

    ^ back to top



    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • Pathogenic (disease causing) microorganisms cause numerous illnesses worldwide, many times resulting in death. In the United States (U.S.), adverse effects caused by these pathogenic organisms cost billions of dollars annually to treat. There is currently no vaccine available for many common forms of pathogenic organisms.


    • The National Laboratory Pathfinder - Vaccine - Survey (NLP-Vaccine-Survey) sends several species of microorganisms to space to determine the next step to take to create a vaccine for these life-threatening microbes.


    • The pathogenic organisms and Caenorhabditis elegans worms are launched separated, then serially mixed, grown and fixed in flight. Once the experiment is completed on orbit and returned to Earth, analysis of virulence is completed by the investigator.

    Description
    The 2005 NASA Authorization Act designated a portion of the International Space Station (ISS) as a National Laboratory. To fulfill that mandate, NASA is providing an opportunity for non-governmental entities to conduct research and development and potentially industrial processing on board the ISS. These opportunities aboard the ISS are considered National Lab Pathfinder (NLP) missions. These NLP missions launch to the ISS on each available shuttle mission, until the shuttle is retired.

    The National Laboratory Pathfinder - Vaccine - Survey (NLP-Vaccine-Survey) investigation grows several microorganisms, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus mirabilis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Listeria monocytogenes, Entrococcus faecalis and Candida albicans in microgravity to affect the virulence (infection potential) and assist in the development of a vaccine to treat the illnesses caused by the microbes. Details about each microorganism in NLP-Vaccine-Survey are as follows:

    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacterium which causes disease in humans. It is ubiquitous and thrives not only in normal atmospheres, but also with little oxygen, and has thus colonized many natural and artificial environments. The symptoms of the infections are generalized inflammation. If infection occurs in critical body organs such as the lungs, the urinary tract, and kidneys, the results can be fatal.


    • Klebsiella is a gram-negative bacteria that can cause infections in healthcare settings, including pneumoniae, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis.


    • Proteus mirabilis is a gram-negative bacterium commonly found in the human intestinal tract as part of normal human intestinal flora. In hospital settings, it is not unusual for gram-negative bacilli to colonize both the skin and oral mucosa of both patients and hospital personnel.


    • Streptococcus pneumoniae causes many clinical syndromes, depending on the site of infection, e.g., acute otitis media, pneumonia, bacteremia, or meningitis.


    • Listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes is an important public health problem. The disease affects the elderly population, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. There is currently no vaccine available for Listeriosis infections.


    • Enterococcus species are hardy organisms that can survive and grow in many environments. With increasing antibiotic resistance, Enterococci are feared pathogens that can be challenging to treat.


    • Candida albicans lives in numerous parts of the body as normal flora. However, when an imbalance occurs, such as hormone changes, C. albicans can multiply, resulting in a mucosal or skin infection called Candidiasis.

    Each flight opportunity of this investigation provides additional insight about the bacteria and the changes that are occurring as they grow in space. The knowledge is applied to streamline and accelerate the development of vaccines and therapeutics on Earth.

    The microbes and the Caenorhabditis elegans worms are launched separated and serially mixed, grown and fixed in flight. Once the experiment is completed on orbit and returned to Earth, analysis of virulence is completed by the investigator. NLP-Vaccine-Survey was flown on the Space Shuttle during the last servicing mission for Hubble on STS-125 in May 2009. NLP-Vaccine-Survey was flown on the Space Shuttle to the ISS as NLP-Vaccine-3.

    ^ back to top



    Applications

    Space Applications
    Results from this experiment may help scientists more clearly understand measures that should be taken to reduce the risk of infection and contraction of disease while in space.

    Earth Applications
    There is currently no vaccine available for the strains of organisms being examined; this research may help develop vaccines against these life threatening organisms.

    ^ back to top



    Operations

    Operational Requirements
    This payload is conducted under ambient temperature conditions and does not require image or data download.

    Operational Protocols
    The research is contained in the Fluid Processing Apparatus (FPA). In order to activate the samples, the crew turns a hand crank that has been inserted onto the top of the GAP which contains the FPAs. Once the samples are activated for a predetermined length of time, the crew again turns the hand crank on top of the GAPs to terminate the experiment. The terminated samples are returned to Earth via the shuttle.

    ^ back to top



    Results/More Information

    ^ back to top



    Results Publications

    ^ back to top


    Ground Based Results Publications

    ^ back to top


    ISS Patents

    ^ back to top


    Related Publications

    ^ back to top


    Related Websites
    Astrogenetix
    BioServe Space Technologies
    Media Advisory - NASA Studies Microbes on Space Shuttle Flight
    Payoffs from ISS Research
    VA Research Project on NASA Space Shuttle

    ^ back to top



    Imagery

    image NASA Image: S119E006157 - Astronaut John Phillips, STS-119 mission specialist, works with Group Activation Packs (GAP) on the middeck of Space Shuttle Discovery during flight day two activities.
    + View Larger Image


    image This is a photomicrograph of the fungus Candida albicans. Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Image ID - 2918.
    + View Larger Image


    image This scanning electron micrograph depicts numbers of bacteria, which are identified as being Gram-positive Enterococcus sp. bacteria. Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Image ID - 209.
    + View Larger Image


    image Electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue. Listeria monocytogenes is the infectious agent responsible for the food borne illness Listeriosis. Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Image ID - 10828.
    + View Larger Image


    image This is a colorized scanning electron micrograph of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Image ID - 10043.
    + View Larger Image


    image This is a colorized scanning electron micrograph of Streptococcus pneumonia. Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Image ID - 9996.
    + View Larger Image